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QUENCH (standard:science fiction, 997 words)
Author: Gavin J. CarrAdded: Feb 04 2005Views/Reads: 3211/2077Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
They could do nothing against the invaders. They had appeared unexpectedly: a fleet of starships one hundred and fifty strong, souls as frigid and empty as the void from which they had come.
 



It was eerie. 

They watched as the shadow gradually slipped in front of the sun,
stilling the soaring cries of seabirds. 

‘So they‘re back,' said Richards.  ‘Enrichson was right.  He said they
would.' 

Wilburg rubbed his eyes absently.  He was surprised to discover that he
was close to tears.  He thought he had cried himself dry, that he could 
never feel anything again.  But here he was, twelve months after the 
war had began, six months since he'd lost everyone he loved, and still 
the tears came. 

‘Those bastards,' he said.  ‘Those sick, monstrous bastards.  Don't they
ever stop?' 

‘Not until we're all dead,' said Richards.  He lifted his gun and slung
it over his shoulder.  ‘Let's get back to the bunker and see what we 
can salvage.' 

They picked their way over the cracked concrete that had once been the
city's promenade.  To the east – where the beach had been – there was 
now an expanse of black glass where the heat from the bombs had fused 
the sand.  To the west were the remains of the city, the jagged stubs 
of tower blocks protruding like rotten teeth. 

Such power, thought Richards.  If only we had a tenth of their power
then we could at least put up a fight. 

But such thoughts were useless.  They could do nothing against the
invaders.  They had appeared unexpectedly: a fleet of starships one 
hundred and fifty strong, souls as frigid and empty as the void from 
which they had come. 

They stooped as they entered the bunker and walked down the hallway
towards the steel doors. 

‘No guards again,' said Wilburg. ‘There really should be a guard on that
door.' 

‘I know,' replied Richards, ‘but we don't have the people anymore. 
Every available man is in the field.' 

Every available man.  It was an understatement, thought Richards.  There
was every available woman too and even - and here he paused to swallow 
as though the thought left a bad taste - every available child.  Only 
yesterday he had issued guns and explosives to a group of volunteers.  
None of them had been older than fourteen.  None of them had come back. 


He knocked on the door and opened it.  It was dim inside the bunker, the
area lit by a single bulb fed by a generator. 

Enrichson looked up from his laptop as they came in. 

‘What's going on out there?  We're down to one satellite.  The rest have
just...vanished.' 

‘Another ship,' Wilburg grunted.  ‘Big one.  Blocking out the sun.' 

Enrichson tapped the keyboard.  ‘Shit, so they've came back,' he said. 
We're done for!' 

Richards sat down and fished in his pocket for a crumpled cigarette.  He
poked it into the corner of his mouth and lit it. 

‘Sure we're done,' he said wearily.  ‘We knew that three months into
this war.  But what can we do?  What choice do we have?  Surrender?' 

He threw back his head and let out a jerky, hysterical laugh that made
the others look at him with concern.  He knew he was out of control but 
didn't care; the situation was so absurd.  Here they were - what was 
left of the resistance; the brains; the gallant strategists that were 
going to lead humanity to freedom. 


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